Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Achieving Happiness with Acceptance

Previously, I posted about achieving happiness with meaningful life goals. While that gives us direction and meaning, and as long as we make progress, it would give us happiness. When there is no progress or worse, when things regress, then we are not very happy. That's where acceptance comes in.

That doesn't mean admit defeat and give up on life goals, but simply accept things as they are right now. It's to understand and realize that everything happens for a reason, the bad and the good. Regardless of how things are, if we expect them to be a certain way, we will always be unhappy at some point. So in order for us to be happy always, then we need to learn to accept not just the good things in life, but the bad as well. Accept the bad to fully understand and learn from them, and that will let us come up with choices to make things better.

My life goal is to continuously improve myself and help others do the same, so I have been doing a lot of that lately, but slowly everything just becomes exhausting and frustrated, and hence me no happy, which is counterproductive to what I am trying to achieve. I realized there is a continuous expectation for me to become better, and expecting others to do the same as well. When there is progress, it's great. But sometimes, or maybe often, there isn't progress or things just backfire -- I become mentally/physically exhausted, kids are fighting, others are not doing what they should be doing. There's a lot of expectation, hence I have created a gap between reality and expectation, which is the cause of unhappiness according to a wise wife of an ex-colleague.

I have been reading about meditation, and one of the books that I read, The Mindful Day, mentioned that Acceptance is a quality of meditation -- an attitude, principle, or even as a mindset of how you pay attention. It's the ability to see things as they really are without filter and expectation of being different. Maybe thanks to meditation, I have finally realized what that means and can truly start to embrace everything and everyone as they are. Everything and everyone is perfect in their own way. No one needs to be a certain way, or should be another way. But could be if they choose -- the choice is theirs alone and no one else's. That's a choice, not an expectation, which is a good thing. When we accept others or difficult situations, we can better understand them, and as there is no expectation to be different or better, hence there is no gap between reality and expectation, then we are happy.

Hence, I have come to realize there is another way to achieving happiness, and that's acceptance. Accept others as they are -- even the murderers, animal/viruses/bacteria/diseases that kill us, or just our kids fighting each other. Accept situations are they are -- being homeless, got cheated, not getting promoted, being rained on in the middle of a jungle. With acceptance, we gain better understanding of others and the situation without expectations of being different or better.

To be truly happy, we must truly accept everything and everyone as they are.

This is part of Living Life to the Fullest blog series.

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